And Proud We Are of All of Them

So…

The clinch thing.

First of all, let me ask this. How many of you, Cardinals fans, genuinely care about when they clinch, whether it’s after a win, whether the magic number might get to zero when the Cardinals aren’t actually on the field… all that kind of thing? We reporters are making a big deal out of it, and I do think it’s an interesting topic for a few reasons. But are we making too much of it?

Now on to how I see the situation.

Let’s say the Cardinals actually did lose every single game from here on out. And the Astros were to win every single game from here on out. And the two teams were to finish tied. The Cardinals, as has been dissected ad nauseam, would be division champions by tiebreak. The NL might well give the Astros a "co-champion" certificate in that scenario.

But tell me this: do you think the Cardinals wouldn’t claim the division title, outright? I firmly believe they would fly a banner calling themselves champions, not co-champions. And rightly so. The rules provide for a tiebreak to determine the division champ in just such a situation.

So if they’ve reached a point where they will call themselves division champions no matter what, then I figure they should have popped champagne on Thursday night. I understand the logic that you wait until the magic number is zero. And that’s going to come. Soon. Fortunately for the Cards, Saturday brings another chance to do it on the field, and have a dogpile, and spray champagne after winning a game. All of which this team deserves.

That’s at the heart of this, really. You work from mid-February to September for a goal, and when you reach it, you should enjoy it. Abraham Nunez, who has never seen the playoffs in the Major Leagues, should enjoy it. All of the rookies should enjoy it. And all of the guys who have been here before, and know how hard it is to get back, should enjoy it. There’s a bigger deal ahead, but this is a big deal.

And it just seems to me that every day that goes by makes it a little more surreal. Every day that passes where we know that this team will be the champions of the division, yet they haven’t celebrated, will lead to that celebration being just a little less spontaneous, just a little less everything that a celebration is all about. And it seems to me that that’s a little bit of a shame.

I’m not saying they’re wrong. It is consistent with last year, when they waited until it was zero. But I think, if it were my decision — which obviously it wasn’t — there would have been plastic on the lockers after Thursday night’s win.

What do you all think?

-M.

16 Comments

A little history on the “co-champion” thing….

In 2001, the Cardinals were tied with the Astros at the end of the season. That year, STL was on the losing end of the season series with the ‘Stros, so they were named the Wild Card and Houston was named division champ. The next year, the Cardinals did indeed proclaim themselves to be 2001 Co-Champions and the put a banner in the outfield to that effect. The Astros, who did not consider the Cardinals to be co-champions at all, protested. But Cards brass said that “co-champions” was within MLB’s guidance and that’s what they were sticking with.

At least they’re being consistent.

I think it’s much ado about nothing…even if we can’t beat the Cubs, we still have Cincinnati and Milwaukee, Carpenter has to pitch again, they’ll win one. I have no idea what the players think, but I would imagine that if you can’t clinch at home, the road location wouldn’t matter much. And, as soon as the champagne dries, they’ll all say they haven’t won anything yet…we live for the clichés, it’s why we’re here.!! I wish I could tell the guys…Mr. Maddux will pitch you AWAY, hit the ball to the opposite field, take your singles, and score some runs…we’ll see.

Hmmm….loose 14 in a row?
Doubt it! Forget the co-talk!

They will clinch this weekend.

The team has a lot more depth than last year. Tony, don’t give “stars” off to much time to “rest”?? and look flat or out of sync. How many runs did we score in the WS last year? Not many. There will be great pitching in the playoffs no doubt; a lot tougher than the ones we have been feasting on…will need to keep being aggressive on offense…hitnrun, suicide sqz. Nice to see Tony pull off so many of them this year…it would be great to have a little more in base stealing threat…Lou,Ricky, where are you? Hey Pierre, could you steal 2nd and 3rd

and let E,P or W hit a deep fly ball….can’t wait for playoffs to start…good luck to all.

This is an intersesting topic,no doubt.I agree with waiting until it’s clinched, or “cinched” as Mike Shannon says, to pop the champagne bottles.I just think if you do it after clinching a tie, it makes it feel like your celebrating a tie.If you know you’re gonna win the division anyway,I think you wait till it’s in the bag before you celebrate. If for no other reason, then just to let the guys celebrate a win,not a tie. Now that it’s a done deal, it seems like a moot point.I found today’s game to be quite interesting.Carp gave up 4 earned in 4 innings,after letting Dusty Baker’s mouth get to him.-I can’t stand that guy.He’s just a dirty manager.He plays mind games.I just don’t like that.-Anyways,after Carp is removed it seemed like Tony was telling Baker that if you wanna play mind games, here’s one for ya. Play against the Memphis Redbirds/St.Louis Cardinals team.Why do we care?We already beat you.Maybe it’s just because I already don’t like Baker from his days in San Fran.He never pitched to McGwire, and then complained non-stop when no one would pitch to his guy Bonds.-So we lost what, 10 of 16 to the Cubs?That’s bad,but everyone else beat the Cubs so we didn’t have to,right?–

I agree with the players who voted to wait til they got the msgic number to 0. Waiting in a cramped clubhouse Thursday night for nearly an hour to call the game because of rain would have made for an anti-climactic celebration anyway. Better to shake hands on the field after a victory and then go in and pop the champagne. If they had won that last game in St Louis, that would have been an exception, letting them celebrate in front of the home-town crowd. Ever since childhood I have loved to see post-clinching celebrations. It’s so hypocritical of Bud Selig to forbid televising of such events (those of us outside of St Louis saw about 5 seconds of it on ESPN–maybe locally more was shown) because of the “abuse of alcohol” in these events. Yet he doesn’t seem to mind MLB haveing an “official beer” with huge outfield signs in every ballpark. Bud, I spent every October watching teams pop champagne from my early childhood, and it never made me am alcoholic–I’m a teetotaler!

I much prefered for them to wait until they won on Saturday… always nice to celebrate after a win…!

Couple of things…

You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the prohibition on transmission of the celebration doesn’t have anything to do with an alcohol issue. I beleive — and again, tell me if I’m wrong — that it has to do with rightsholder agreements. They put out a release before the clinch announcing who is permitted to broadcast live, and when. So for the first N minutes after the game, ONLY the official rightsholder is permitted to broadcast live.

And as for the question of whether to celebrate after a win — Thursday’s game, which was the other time they could have celebrated, was also a win.

-M.

I am glad they waited. I see your point about Thursday, but why have a magic number if you’re gonna celebrate before it reaches 0? Also I think it was very professional of them to wait. Either way, I am very very happy for them. I would have liked more post-game video whatever the reason. Listened to Mike & Wayne on the radio though, and I thoroughly enjoyed that. If there had been more television coverage, I probably would have missed that.

I beg to differ on alcohol not being the reason for the prohibiton of showing post-clinching celebrations. Two or 3 years ago, Selig issued a statement that such celebrations could not or should not be shown because it sent a bad message on the use or abuse of alcohol. [How many champagne drunks do you know??] The clinching game wasn’t even shown where I live, so in that case, it had nothing to do with live broadcasting rights that ESPN or FSN didn’t shown but 2 seconds of Larry Walker and his goggles. And even though Thursday’s game WAS a win, it was “called” after an hour rain delay, so they didn’t get a win “on the field”, and it would have been awkward to celebrate after sitting around, waiting on the umps.

Here’s a link to a column about Bud discouraging champagne celebrations, from 2003, in the Naples {Fla.]News:
http://tinyurl.com/93v65

Ok… No disrepesct to anyone out there but the following needs to be understood about the whole “delayed” celebration. First, let’s understand that clinching is very relevant to the fans, media, players, owners etc. Celebrating is only relevant to the players. When, how and IF it occurs is entirely up to them. Dont get me wrong, the moment they mathematically clinched, I pumped my fist and tried explaining it to my girlfriend. No matter how it happened, this is what we have waited all year for and the Cardinals winnig by way of Houstons loss is a by-product of the entire seasons succes. So, jump up and down, go crazy folks.
That being said, the Cards “delayed” celebration is the result of brilliant managing on the part of La Russa. The Cards succes down the stretch depends on mindset, confidence, and recognizing what they’ve achieved. By La Russa postponing it till the magic number was zero it sent the message that we can never “settle” for the minimum. It eliminates any ambiguity about who the Cardinals are. We are the best team with the best record and thats why we won the division. Furthermore, the longer the Cardinals are striving toward a goal, the better they are going to play. So by saying that we have to “wait” is saying “go out there, play your hearts out, and get me a win”.

All in all, we have to remember that the celebration is not mandatory and if it can be used as a conduit for success than more power to it – therefore use it wisely. We all have an equal right to celebrate their clinching and when we choose to do so is not bound by the technical side of things.

Well, till next time…

GO CARDS!!!

I personally could care less when the Cardinals celebrate. I only care about one celebration this season and thats them winning the World Series. But I do think they they did the right thing by only celebrating when the magic number was zero and after a win. I know I wouldn’t want to celebrate a tie or celebrate after a loss. I think the reporters made too much of the magic number in the first place. Everyone pretty much knew they would win the division back in May.

M,

Very good discussion with Braves.com writer. It makes me a little upset that all the Jones supporters will find anything to make Andrew seem like a more valuable player. I read him saying that Chipper was out for 2 months…what does that prove? All Cardinal fans know that Rolens been out almost the whole season. I firmly believe that the Cardinals and the Braves both need their MVP candidates equally. Therefor, you have to go the the numbers they have put up. The Braves.com writer knows this so he turns the attention the the defensive side of the numbers. Well obviously a good center fielder is more valueable than a good first baseman. So why did Bonds win all those MVPs? Because of his defensive ability? I think not.

I just have to get something off my chest…and I may be incorrect in my assessment. However, it seems that LaRussa is once again managing away a winning season. He is one of the winningest managers ever but has been rather unsuccessful in the Post Season. Perhaps it’s due largely to the way he manages at the end of the season. He gives his bench players and minor league call-ups an abundance of playing time while sitting his starters. This poses several problems; first, the formula used to accomplish the best record in baseball is disrupted, second the starting pitching staff has a less potent offense and defense behind them…causing them to have worse results when they take the mound…which leads to them trying too hard and ultimately loosing confidence in their abilities and picking up bad habits. Also, this can lead to the bull-pen being overworked. For the starting position players, they’re not getting their accustomed playing time so they begin to slump. If you had too wouldn’t it be better bench Edmonds, for example, in June or July and let him get healthy as opposed to playing hurt everyday during those months and benching him in September for the same degree of injury? So, where does this managerial philosophy leave us when the post season opens in October? Well, the minor league call-ups who got all that playing time are back at “mamma’s” house watching the games on TV, the bench players are back on the bench, the starting position players are rusty and slumping, the starting pitching staff all have their confidence shaken and have picked up bad habits and the bull-pen is worn down and overworked. Could this be, at least in part the reason for LaRussa’s lack of success in the post season? His dominate Oakland A’s got beat by a weakened and struggling Dodgers team. His A’s got swept by Cincinnati. His Cardinals teams have returned to the post season year after year only to advance to the World Series once and be swept…

I don’t think the results really bear out your theory, macool, and here’s why…

If the late-season managing caused all those things, caused the most important players to get flat, it would show up right away in the postseason, right? But I can’t think of anybody who has had more success in the beginning rounds of the playoffs than La Russa — OK, Joe Torre, but that’s about it. But the point is, the Cardinals and A’s have won seven of their nine first-round series under La Russa.

The problems have come later, in the World Series for Oakland and mostly in the NLCS for the Cards. By the time these guys have gotten through a round, they’re playing regularly again and back where they need to be.

-M.

Under macool’s reasoning Bobby Cox is responsible for the Braves only winning one World Series since 1992. Why don’t the Braves fire him? Oh yeah, they are on the verge of their 14th consecutive division title.Ridiculous!

What??!! I was just talking about LaRussa…not Cox. Thanks for responding Matthew. You’re probably right…I was just griping.

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